Franklin Countys First News

Boom results in calls

FARMINGTON - A loud, rumbling noise followed by a big boom at about 4:30 p.m. yesterday was enough to prompt several area residents to call the cops.

The noise and explosive-sounding boom, or sonic boom, that shook windows Thursday afternoon was caused by "jets flying around," explained one dispatcher. A sonic boom occurs when an aircraft, moving faster than sound or at about 750 miles per hour at sea level, generates enough air pressure waves to form shock waves that produce, like thunder, an explosion.

The Franklin County Dispatch Center reported calls coming in that asked what the noise was all about. Bonnie Pomeroy at the Farmington Police Department said eight to 10 calls were received within three minutes of the big boom.

"People from all over town were calling," she said. Most had no idea what the boom was, while some callers asked if something in town had blown up.

Col. Donald McCormack at the Maine Air National Guard in Augusta said he hadn't received complaints about the jet noise and didn't know if training flights were going on at the time of the boom.

One caller asked Pomeroy if the Air National Guard's proposal to lower the altitude for military jet training flights over much of western Maine had already been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

On Saturday, a four-hour public hearing was held at the University of Maine at Farmington on the proposal to modify the military operation areas known as Condor 1 and Condor 2, so jet pilots can train 500 feet off the ground. Currently, ANG pilots must stay above 7,000 feet throughout the area, unless they're training in designated one-way corridors or military training routes which now cover 53 percent of the training area.

With the proposal, known as the Environmental Impact Study, still in its draft stage and perhaps six months from moving from draft to final version, McCormack said the jet pilots currently training are not allowed to stray from the designated lower flight training corridors, which have been in place for 30 years.

A phone message left at the Air National Guard that asks about the boom over the Farmington area yesterday has not been returned as of yet.

Anyone wishing to issue a noise complaint can call the Eastern Air Defense Sector at 1-800-223-5612. After the recorded menu message, press 3 to get to the noise complaint hotline.

To find out more about the public hearing and details of the proposal, read about it here.

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31 Responses »

  1. Sheeple.

  2. This shouldn't be allowed, felt like a 100 foot oak tree fell on the house last night.

    Cant they do this s#&t in the desert?

  3. This is the tip of the iceberg if the pandora's box is opened and low flights are allowed.

    It's not too late to make your opinion known where it matters.

    Contact Senators Snowe (tel. 1-800-432-1599) and Collins (tel. 1-202-224-2523) and Representative Michaud (tel. 1-202-225-6306) to let them know that the low-flight plan poses an unacceptable threat to Maine’s economic and environmental resources and public health, and it shows a fundamental disregard for the interests of the people of Maine.

    To comment directly on the Environmental Impact Study, you can send your comments in a letter or email to:

    Lt. Col. Mike Milord
    National guard Bureau Public Affairs
    Jefferson Plaza 1, 1411 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Ste 11200
    Arlington, VA, 20222

    Email him at

    For more info, visit

  4. How many of the NIMBY crown will call when our military can't protect us due to lack of training? Other governments don't ask. Be thankful our's does and fight to protect our rights to vote!

  5. How timely.

    If you were on the fence about low-altitude flights before...

  6. Has anyone POSITIVELY identified where the noise came from?

    We spend summers at our camp on Lower Richardson and when the jets fly super low and loud over the lake, we LOVE it! It is the coolest thing to watch. It hasn't negatively affected our quality of life at camp at all. Seriously, people! Get a grip. It's not all about you!

  7. I felt the boom. thanks for letting me know. I live in New Vineyard and was reading a book. My whole mobil home shook. As for the jets flying lower. I lived by Logan airport and when the planes came over town. I could wave to the passengers! Pictures where always falling off walls.
    Don't let the jets fly here. Go fly in Mass. or New Hamphsire isn't that where they are from?

  8. I do not believe it was a mistake, these are highly qualified fighter pilots after all. I think it was a message to all who oppose them in their desires, An arrogant show of just what they think of people's concerns.

  9. isnt there all kinds of ocean where they can be doing this and not over our great state and ruin out nights. I have lived on and right next to Fort Bragg NC for the last three years and will say that it is the most annoying thing to listen to planes flying over head at about 500 ft and up it is a constant thing that sucks. my questions is why cant they do this over the ocean where there is no house and no one to bother.

  10. I lived for years on a Helicopter base. Also on a Jet base. Noise is part of life.

    This is the sound of freedom, just like gunfire at your local range. FREEDOM is not free, and if we as a nation did not have those jets, and skilled people to pilot them, we would be in a world of crap...worse that some think it is now.
    Get a grip people, do you think this will happen every day, all day, or perhaps just ocasonally? Maybe we could live with it after all. maybe we are getting worked up over nothing.
    It amazes me what kind of whiners make up the "can't we all just get along" crowd.
    Can't we all just suck it up? I mean, Obama is putting our nation so deeply into debt, I'd think this noise would be the least of our worries. Can you say hyperinflation/devaluation?

  11. I have solved your problems....LEAVE the State! Go to Afgan and live like those poor souls. You will come screaming and begging to come back. JUST MOVE AWAY! If the area is so quiet then why are you allowing beautiful fields and forests to be destroyed with strip malls and houses? Oh I forgot it's the From Away thinking!

  12. These are the men who are putting their lives in danger for our freedom. I have lived in Farmington for 10 years. This is the first time I have heard a sonic boom. If someone asked you how many of these "booms" a day you would tolerate to save a life what would be your answer?

    Maybe would should contact NOAA to protest the loud thunder we hear during the summer. I thought this was "the way life should be"? Thunder and lighting storms are not the way life should be in my opinion.

    Every time you hear and feel a sonic boom, know that there are men and women looking out for your ungrateful rear ends!

  13. Breaking the sound barrier used to happen in Farmington in the 80's on a regular basis.

  14. Insulting those who don't want to allow low-flight training in our state and calling them unpatriotic is the most obvious of strawman arguments. Not one person who has argued against allowing them has expressed anything less than the utmost support and respect for our military, and the men and women who risk their lives to defend us. Does anyone really believe that a genuine concern for the prosperity and habitability of your state is unpatriotic?

    Rather than try to restate a position that someone else has already presented so effectively, I would direct anyone who hasn't yet read the Op-Ed on this subject from our former fellow resident, Paul Caruso, to do so now. You can find it here:

    If that link doesn't work or isn't posted for any reason, just use the search bar in the upper-right and look for "Letter to the Editor: Proposed changes to the Condor 1 & 2 military operations area"

  15. Will someone tell me that tourists will now call ahead and plan vacations around booms? I don't think so.

    Will my land lose value because of booms..Nope!

    Booms will not destroy land ,people or animals.

    But greedy people building fantasy houses and strip malls on beautiful land will.

    Rather then worrying about the booms, maybe the whinners should worry about their loss of healthcare when their employer cancels company insurance for govt insurance...NO business can stay alive giving employees insurance...thus ALL will go to the govt option.

    OR do the whinners know about their insurance and job loss and don't want to hear the booms because it means some else has a job ?

  16. a vet: how disturbing it is that you can't properly name a country where our soldiers are fighting and dying. and do you really think this is a "from away" issue? i have lived here all of my life. you are sorely mistaken in suggesting that those opposed to the low-level flights over our area are somehow gung-ho about sprawl and super-walmart business models. the cognitive dissonance is astounding. the "from aways" should at least have credit for relocating to maine towns to escape such landscapes. perhaps you folks who insist that we should be thankful for these intrusions would see nothing wrong with quartering troops in civilian houses, either. after all, we must sacrifice for our freedom, yes? in a state where nobody has any better ideas for the economy than to build a hotel or a tourist trap and to tax everything yet grace the common man by exempting lift tickets and golf course green fees, shouldn't we be concerned with the freedom of businesses to operate unhindered? how unfortunate it is that the people in charge have chosen to make these arrogant displays over a population already conflicted about our military operations. don't worry though, it will all be over soon, with more and more experts cut from every political cloth agreeing that these wars cannot be won (and talk about national debt! some worry about the cost of healthcare? go figure.) hurts to hear, i know.

  17. Thanks Benjamin for the reminder of that excellent post from Paul Caruso.

    I don't think there's an example anywhere of the military being kind to the environment.

    It seems pretty transparent that the military is avoiding the closer alternatives in upstate NY and along the VT/NH border to go after Maine with it's two hawkish GOP Senators. I just hope the public sees through it and lets them know this is not the way to go for Maine.

  18. Sheeple is correct. What a bunch of babies. It's the sound of freedom.

  19. Let's watch The Bulldog.....because when the sheeple(good word) lose their health care, they will be the first to whine here.

    The sonic booms will sound like The Liberty Bell to me.

    Any vet who forgives the great unwashed who spit and cursed them should be ashamed.

  20. I too was born and raised right in this area. Four brothers served their country, two of them in Vietnam. They served their country with the idea that they were protecting our freedoms, one of which is the right to disagree with our government. Thanks to all vets for helping preserve that right, which I intend to exercise with this issue. To tell citizens to put up and shut up is for communist sheeple, not red blooded Americans.

  21. I do, I think, remember some booms in the 80's. On those occasions, we just said, "Oh, it's another sonic boom." Part of the problem with this one was that it was so solitary and unexpected. It was an honest reaction of many to wonder if something had exploded.

    As for the word "sheeple," someone much greater than I am lovingly called His followers His sheep many years ago ...

  22. When I was a kid 50+ years ago and the sound barrier had recently been broken, we lived near enough to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio to be privileged, occasionally, to witness the fabulous Blue Angels in training, and thrilled to the sonic booms of the new jets on a regular basis. That sound was once a "miracle". Now it seems to be a nuisance. It's just a noise. A wonderful noise signifying your defense as well as the amazing progress man has made since discovering fire. It won't hurt the rabbits and it won't break your windows. Be grateful we don't have to worry about earhquakes.

  23. I feel we need the noise and discomfort so the brave can protect the weak and we will have freedom to keep on complaining about the problem without being harrassed. Some people hear that load noise and it's not a sonic boom and they don't live in the U.S.

  24. How is the engine of a jet any more "the sound of freedom" than the sound of a canoe on a lake in Maine, or those of the birds flying over it? Why do people feel such a need to immediately fall back on calling people "unpatriotic" and "socialist," and "whiny liberal," instead of actually discussing the REAL differences in their opinions? People on BOTH sides of this issue are conservatives AND liberals, civilians AND veterans. Are we all really so simpleminded that our first resort in this debate is blind partisanship and talking-point punditry?

  25. Name one tourist who will not come to Maine because of a sonic boom!

    Please show me an individual animal that was harmed by the last sonic boom!

    I would like to see the damage done to any home in the area from the sonic boom.

  26. a vet: please name one person whose life was saved by the sonic boom. and be specific!

  27. oh i see. so you were in imminent danger of bodily harm and your immediate defense was the air national guard flying over franklin county? interesting. but wrong answer. it was a trick question.

  28. Naw. I was in Korea and in a foxhole and the boom of the jets coming to save my butt were sweet. And jonboy this is for serious conversation not for your fun. Enjoy your childs play and when you face real trouble try tricking your way out!

  29. a vet, you miss my point. whether the national guard trains over farmington or not has nothing to do with saving your life in korea, or anybody else in afghanistan for that matter. my question was intended to point out the flaw in your rhetoric. my point is you can't form a correlation between the sonic boom and lives saved just as you can't form a correlation between that and tourists deterred from coming to franklin county. the data doesn't exist. not that i feel that tourism is more important than saving the lives of our troops--it's not--but you can't present us with that data either, which was the point of my rhetorical question. and actually, i'm sure if one were ambitious enough one could conduct a survey that might indicate that some folks wouldn't come to farmington because of potential sonic booms. but of course that survey would be garbage because we'd have no way of knowing that they weren't just saying that and coming here anyway. as for the training saving lives, ( and the necessity of that training being over franklin county aside) there's absolutely no way of proving that either. there is no way anybody could say, "oh, well jimmy would still be alive if it wasn't for those damn hippies complaining about low-level training flights over farmington maine." oh, and i've been on these boards long enough to know that you telling anybody to get serious is the pot calling the kettle black.

  30. jonboy

    Wait! Have to find my dictionary. Hmmm...let's see......from what you say. I am correct. Guess I win.

    Another thing. What if it were your Jimmie that died?